County Leaders Approve Sales Tax Vote

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After deliberating for more than an hour Monday night (Jan. 20) the Crawford County Quorum court approved a sales tax vote to fund a new jail.

"What we decided on tonight was that they were going to ask the public for a quarter of a cent for construction of a jail, and a quarter of a cent for operations and maintenance,” Crawford County Judge John Hall Said.

The jail has been written up multiple times and was put on probation by the state for violations such as overcrowding. The new jail's price tag comes in at around $20 million.

“It will take about 22 years to pay the bond issue off," Hall said.

A sales tax vote has been shot down multiple times. Crawford County Sheriff Ron Brown said the jail currently can hold around 80 inmates, and a new jail is needed.

"It is a long process,” Hall said. “You’re talking about a major project that is going to require a lot of thought."

Shawn Harding, an architect from Kansas attended the meeting. He said he is interested in the project.

"It's simply a project that has got a lot of interest in this whole region," he said.

Hall said with the current jail being near downtown and the railroad, presents a problem. Hall said they are looking for the communities help not only on passing the tax but finding a place to put the jail.

 Hall said the property needs to be at least five acres or more.

The public will hit the polls to decide on this issue the second Tuesday in May of 2014.


  • AGT C

    Isn’t 5 acres a lot of land for a jail?How about changing laws that let non violent criminals out of jail and keep the molesters and killers in jail.If the guy was smoking weed and he is in jail that’s just stupid.Child molesters are set free everyday and non violent criminals have to pay out the behind to get out even though they did not hurt anybody.We need better laws not bigger jails!!!!

  • Jane Doe

    The weed smokers are not in the jail currently. The worst of the worst are in there and there are still people that are being let out that should be in jail. You’ve got your facts mixed up.

  • Retired

    Just who will the land be bought from? There are so many “insider” deals done in this county that someone related to someone will definitely get some big bucks. What happened to trying to get the land donated? All I know is read the fine print before voting for this or most of the money will go for other country projects. “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”….we’ve been fooled more than twice.

    • AGT C

      You know what I am saying retired.You are right somebodies brother,cousin,sister’s husband is gonna get rich off the tax payer’s.Van Buren taxes are the same as Fort Smith and we have way less stuff than Fort Smith.
      If the jail is full of murderer’s and child molester’s then the state of Arkansas needs to start executing people.A child molester should never be let go and do not say they do not let them go because remember the guy in Oak Grove that was running from his caretaker?Children need caretakers not adults and we the people were paying for this scum to have a babysitter!

  • bill

    Van Buren could potentially be host to one of the highest sales tax rates in the United States.Van Buren, and Crawford County as a whole, has to be one of the most poorly run municipalities in the nation.

    • Retired

      AMEN!! This Rena Road deal is one of the examples of money being wasted in this county. We still only have one way into and out to Hwy 59. It will not help one bit with the flow of traffic. Decisions in this county are poorly made, with only one thought in mind….how can I get into this money pot and get some for myself and mine. This mentality has got to stop if we want to make a difference for all citizens.

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